This post is sponsored by Wheel Sport Bikes
Whether it’s a long day in the backcountry or a multi-day bikepacking trip, self-sufficiency on the singletrack is vital. In addition to bear spray, a few pieces of gear will keep your body and bike functioning far beyond your cell coverage.
Storing essentials on your bike rather than on your person improves your ride quality for a couple reasons: it reduces strain on your back, and the lower center of gravity improves bike handling. Bike bags come in as many shapes, sizes and mounting points as the riders who use them, but there’s a reason the Revelate Designs Mountain Feedbag is a classic. Surprisingly spacious and secured by a drawstring enclosure system that can be opened and closed one-handed, the Feedbag can store a large water bottle or a day’s worth of snacks, and the handlebar mount makes it exceedingly convenient for in-flight refueling.
Once you start outriding the carrying capacity of your bottles or bladder, a water filter is a must. Fortunately, the days of squatting over a streambank for endless minutes cramping your forearms on a pump system are largely gone. Camelbak’s collaboration with Lifestraw combines filtration with water storage for unmatched ease of use. The filtration systems come in two iterations: filters that attach to Camelbak’s reservoirs, and water bottles with a built-in filter. Both rely on a two-stage filtration system that removes both the harmful bacteria, parasites, and microplastics and the merely unpleasant bad taste and foul odors from untreated water sources.
In the mountains, foul weather can strike any time. And a summer rain shower might be refreshing in the moment, but staying the night outside in wet gear, whether by choice or by circumstances, can quickly turn treacherous. The ideal set of rain gear will depend on your predominant riding conditions: fully waterproof layers will fully shed the elements but not pack as small or light, while compact water-resistant items will take the chill off from summit winds and light sprinkles but buckle under heavy downpours. The Specialized Trail Rain Jacket features fully waterproof construction and, while not pocket-portable, will still fit in a pack.
Running a tubeless setup in your tires is a must for all-day or multi-day adventures through rough terrain (i.e., anywhere you plan to go in the backcountry). Although tubeless tires will shrug off small holes, large gashes can overwhelm sealant. A set of tubeless plugs—Dynaplug is an excellent choice, although Stan’s and Muc-Off have quality offerings too—will take care of the big stuff: simply squeeze a plug into larger holes or tears and give the tubeless sealant something on which to bond. (Still, a spare tube in your pack never hurts, either.)
Fun fact: grizzly bears are still faster than you on your bike. Trail bells provide a steady symphony of noise to give creatures—and fellow trail users—ample warning of your approach. Modeled after a traditional cowbell, the Timberbell has adjustable intensities, and the clanger can be locked down for times you’d like it to be silenced. Bonus: you have your own built-in cheering section on the descents.
Find all of your backcountry biking gear at one of the three Wheel Sport Bikes shops in the Spokane area or shop online here.